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Pop Culture

Woman was mocked online for calling an $80 purse a 'luxury item.' Her response went viral.

"I'm so grateful that my dad was able to get me one. He worked so hard for that money.”

charles and keith, luxury purse
@zohtaco/TikTok

Zoe Gabriel, showing off her new purse from Charles & Keith

Insults of any kind are painful, but jabs towards someone’s financial status are their own breed.

In January 2023, Singapore-based Zoe Gabriel was on the receiving end of this particular flavor of mockery when she posted a TikTok about a purse from local retail brand Charles & Keith—a gift bought for her by her father.

In her excitement, the 17-year-old called the bag, which costs around $80, a “luxury” item as she unwrapped it. Her excitement was sadly cut short by some of the negative comments she received.

One comment seemed to stand out above the rest and prompted Gabriel to post an emotional response video.


The now-deleted comment, which read, "Who's gonna tell her?" followed by a laughing emoji, showed in the background as Gabriel tearfully explained why the purse meant so much to her as someone who grew up without a lot of money.

@zohtaco Replying to @cressy ♬ original sound - zoe 🦋

“We couldn’t buy new things as simple as bread from BreadTalk,” she said, referencing a popular Singaporean bakery. “That kind of thing was a luxury to us…Every time we passed by a store, my parents would just say next time, but next time would never come.”

With this context, Gabriel shared why the shameful comment was so inconsiderate.

"To you, an $80 bag may not be a luxury. For me and my family, it is a lot, and I'm so grateful that my dad was able to get me one. He worked so hard for that money.”

Gabriel’s video quickly went viral, even making its way to the actual founders of the Charles & Keith brand, Charles and Keith Wong. According to The Straits Times, the brothers were so “impressed” with Gabriel that they invited her and her father to have lunch and an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at the company’s headquarters.

But they didn’t stop there.

The brand later posted a photo on its Instagram page showing Gabriel modeling a lilac-colored Charles & Keith bag for International Women’s Day, even announcing her as a new brand ambassador.

You’d think it would go without saying to just let people enjoy things, but we know that on the internet simple courtesy sometimes goes out the window. However, this is a heartwarming reminder that for every ignorant remark, there are also those who want to lift others up.

Gabriel might have been ridiculed, but she has since seemed to come out on top, posting videos of herself wining and dining and dancing and traveling and basically having the time of her life. Sounds like the ultimate luxury to me.


This article originally appeared on 3.21.23

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